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Canada Mandryk: Moe's federal merry-go-round rapidly spinning out of control

16:30  12 november  2021
16:30  12 november  2021 Source:   leaderpost.com

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Justin Trudeau in a suit and tie sitting in a chair: Relations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe like to deteriorate with Moe's © Provided by Leader Post Relations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Scott Moe like to deteriorate with Moe's

Who knew that when then-premier-designate Scott Moe suggested to us four years ago to “just watch me,” what we’d be watching is Moe on the same, old Justin Trudeau merry-go-round.

Of course, many in this province (and let’s call ourselves a province … for now) enjoy the comforting, reassuring, old-timey nature of merry-go-rounds.

They take us back to simpler days when Saskatchewan could only wish it had oil wealth attracting people here; when we didn’t know the planet was burning up and a global pandemic was only a thing in the movies.

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Those were simpler times when premiers didn’t describe Saskatchewan as a “nation within a nation,” as Premier Scott Moe repeatedly did this week.

Nope, we’re not talking about Rider Nation. We are talking about a full-on “nation within a nation” — a distinct society in which Canada recognizes our uniqueness like calling hoodies bunny-hugs and  … well … that’s the problem.

No one, including Moe himself, can explain what he’s really talking about or what’s justifying this heightened rhetoric. But that sure wasn’t going to stop Moe from tweeting Tuesday: “Saskatchewan needs to be a nation within a nation. When the federal government implements policies that are detrimental to our province, our government will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan people.”

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One gets why Moe was again so eager to hop on this merry-go-round. If not his words, his underlying sentiments do ring true to long-standing Saskatchewan frustrations.

There is little doubt that the federal Liberal government’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy has been designed with little thought in mind for a province that, as Moe noted Tuesday, may have the most GHG emissions per capita but also has the highest per capita exports in the country.

That Trudeau would announce caps on Canadian energy sector emissions at the COP26 conference in Glasgow without so much as giving provinces like Saskatchewan most affected by this a heads up is, as Moe rightly described, “no way to run a country.”

Many would even agree with Moe’s characterization that this is why Saskatchewan’s overall relationship with Ottawa is “deteriorating” (although the premier surely should acknowledge his considerable contribution).

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Moreover, arguing for more “autonomy” or “independence” similar to what favoured-child-of-confederation Quebec gets on specific things like taxation, immigration and policing isn’t outlandish. It’s not even anything new. Moe’s merry-go-round organ has been piping this same tune for a while now.

The day after the Liberals won a minority government in 2019, Moe demanded they drop their entire agenda. From 2018 through 2021, he unsuccessfully took the federal Liberal government to court over the carbon tax.

Moreover, the Saskatchewan premier made it clear Tuesday: “(We’re) not talking about separation. We are talking about being a Saskatchewan cultural identity within the nation of Canada — but being a nation within a nation.”

Sure, Moe was just tossing up a word salad that means nothing and won’t change anything.

Yes, it was mockable embarrassment for a province to seemingly be demanding autonomy when it can’t get its own health-care needs in order. (The satirical website The Beaverton noted on Twitter: “Saskatchewan demands to be recognized as a nation whose main export is ICU patients.”)

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And there’s little doubt the NDP Opposition is right that it was a distraction from the troubling news this g overnment ignored its own COVID-19 modelling warnings.

So if this is just a dizzy, ol’ merry-go-round ride, what’s the harm?

Well, words do matter. And even if Moe can’t explain “nation within a nation,” those specific words mattered. They sure seemed to matter to the Western separatist Maverick Party, quick to endorse his tweet.

Imagine you are someone seriously thinking about moving to Saskatchewan. Are you more likely to do so when the premier is tossing out words like “independence” and now “nation to nation”? Will it it encourage oil companies or other large employers to come here?

Shouldn’t Moe stop and ask: “What good am I doing here?”

Merry-go-rounds can be dangerous when they start spinning out of control. Moe really needs to get off this one.

Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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Mandryk: MLAs need to tell people being unvaccinated is wrong .
Has anyone in this Saskatchewan Party government ever told anyone: “You’re wrong to choose not to be vaccinated”? We’re talking about MLAs doing something more than posting shots of their “Stick it to COVID-19” stickers on their Twitter accounts or politely suggesting we all should get vaccinated. We are talking about showing true leadership and publicly — or perhaps even more crucially, privately — taking on the vaccine-hesitant by telling them that, except for a few rare medical situations, people are wrong not to get a COVID-19 shot.

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